Bournemouth’s attacking assets came back into the Fantasy equation with a bang on Wednesday night.
The Cherries played their part in a six-goal thriller to punish those who had sold their most popular goal-scoring options.
Their performance, as well as the continued shortcomings with the Cherries’ defence, are the focus of this latest Scout Notes article.
Bournemouth 3-3 Watford
Goals: Nathan Ake (£5.0m), Callum Wilson (£6.7m), Ryan Fraser (£6.1m) | Troy Deeney x2 (£5.8m), Ken Sema (£4.6m)
Assists: Dan Gosling (£4.7m), Fraser, Junior Stanislas (£6.0m) | Sema, Deeney
Ryan Fraser (£6.1m) reminded Fantasy managers of the exceptional value he presents this season as he grabbed a goal and assist against Watford. The Scottish international had lost support in recent weeks as Bournemouth’s attacking statistics nose-dived over Christmas. In the four matches prior to Gameweek 21, the Cherries ranked joint third-bottom for shots on target and were the joint-worst side in the division for big chances. However, on Wednesday, Bournemouth recorded 12 accurate shots, more than they have ever recorded in a Premier League match, a quarter coming from Fraser. Meanwhile, the winger played three key passes and increased his already impressive big chance creation for the campaign.
He has now been involved in 14 league goals this season (five scored, nine assists), a 29% share of the 31 his side has netted in 2018/19. Set pieces continue to be a huge part of Fraser’s appeal. An assist came from a free-kick, while Nathan Aké‘s (£5.0m) strike came after Dan Gosling (£4.7m) connected with his delivery and forced a save from Ben Foster (£4.5m). If Bournemouth can keep this rediscovered form in front of goal, then it’s hard to argue against him remaining in our squads given his importance to the side and his exceptional FPL value.
“Ryan Fraser was a constant menace. His movement was very good, he looked lively and his set-play delivery was spot on. He played an important role in us coming back into the match.” – Eddie Howe
Also throwing his name back into the hat was Callum Wilson (£6.7m), who got a first attacking return since Gameweek 15 last night. No player had more shots in the penalty box than the England international at the Vitality Stadium, which is exactly the sort of thing Fantasy managers want to be seeing from him. Mention should also be given to Joshua King (£6.3m), who had the same number of shots in the box and accurate efforts as Wilson but failed to find the net. Meanwhile, David Brooks (£5.0m) was the most creative Bournemouth player on the night.
Crucially, all of the attacking assets we have discussed have a decent chance of further returns from Gameweek 22 onwards. It’s Everton (away), West Ham (home) and Cardiff (away) in three of the next four Gameweeks for Bournemouth, all of whom have struggled for clean sheets this season. In fact, they have already conceded a total of six goals between them so far in 2019.
However, it must be remembered that Bournemouth were fortunate to be playing against a rather accommodating Watford defence. Recently picked out as a team with the potential for conceding heavily, the Hornets were all at sea in their attempts to contain their hosts. It should be no surprise that set pieces caused such an issue as dead ball situations remain Watford’s weakness.
“We conceded in the moment two goals from two free-kicks. We had to defend better. I knew we needed to defend well because I was sure Bournemouth would create chances because they always do it. We conceded two goals from two free-kicks and it was difficult to accept.” – Javi Gracia
But it would be remiss to criticise the Watford defence without taking aim at the Bournemouth backline, who were equally as calamitous. The Cherries have now conceded 18 goals in their last six Premier League outings, working out an average of three per match. They continued to look disorganised at that end of the pitch, with Troy Deeney (£5.8m) unmarked amongst a crowd of Bournemouth players before netting his opening header. The striker’s second came after Steve Cook (£4.5m) took out Aké, his own player, presenting the ball to the Watford player. With mistakes like these, it is no surprise that the Hornets were able to score three times despite recording an expected goals score of just 0.89. Such showing in front of their own goal should also boost the attacking potential of Richarlison (£7.0m), Felipe Anderson (£7.4m), Marko Arnautovic (£6.9m) and Eden Hazard (£11.1m), who all face Bournemouth between now and Gameweek 24.
“We’re going through one of those spells where any shot against us seems to go in, which is a horrible thing to have. We’re not under constant pressure but are finding ways to concede when looking comfortable, so that’s certainly something we’ve got to change.” – Eddie Howe
It should be noted that Bournemouth are undergoing shortfalls in defensive areas, which plays further into the hands of their upcoming opponents. Simon Francis (£4.4m) and Adam Smith (£4.4m) remain long-term absentees while Lewis Cook (£4.7m) is missed in midfield. The extent of the injury problem at Bournemouth was perhaps best exemplified by the fact that Junior Stanislas (£6.0m) at right-back, although Eddie Howe insisted his performance was admirable.
“I thought Junior Stanislas was outstanding as well today, doing a valuable job for the team. The way he executed the position, he showed that his technical level is very high and he actually added an attacking threat for us from that deeper position. Defensively, he was faultless, so I’m very pleased with him.” – Eddie Howe
All of these problems with Bournemouth’s defence perhaps partially explain why Deeney burst out of nowhere to get his first double-digit haul since Gameweek 2. The talismanic figure has re-established himself in the side with seven starts in the last nine for Watford and was involved in every goal against Bournemouth. His minutes per shot in the box and chance created at the Vitality Stadium were both considerably above his record in the previous four matches, so he will need to show more consistency before muscling his way into the budget-striker conversation, especially as there still remains competition for his place up front. Furthermore, Deeney seems to have a score to settle with the Cherries especially. He now has seven goals against them in all competitions, his most against any club during his time at Watford.
“It was an end-to-end game that could have been 6-6. As entertainers, we are happy, but not as professionals, the only people that are happy are the fans. The defending from both teams was Sunday League at best, to be honest.” – Troy Deeney
It was another night of frustration for owners of the popular Roberto Pereyra (£6.3m), still owned by 17% of managers worldwide. They may have hoped that he would be involved somewhere in a game which featured six goals but he recorded a third blank in his last five matches. Eight players touched the ball in opposing penalty boxes more than Pereyra, who shot just once there, off target. Of note from a differential angle though, was a double-figure haul for Ken Sema (£4.6m). Operating on the right-wing, the Swedish international made his fifth start in Watford’s last six matches, deployed in an advanced position. With promising attacking statistics from the game, Sema could become a go-to budget midfielder in 2019.
Bournemouth XI (4-4-2): Begović; Daniels, Aké, S Cook, Stanislas; Fraser (Mousset 82′), Lerma, Gosling, Brooks; King, Wilson (Ibe 81′).
Watford XI (4-4-2): Foster; Holebas, Cathcart, Mariappa, Kiko Femenia; Pereyra, Capoue, Doucouré (Cleverley 56′), Sema (Hughes 71′); Deeney, Deulofeu (Success 90′).
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